Our History as Seventh-Day Adventist Church
The Seventh-Day Adventist Church had its roots in the Millerite movement of the 1830s and 1840s, during the period of the Second Great Awakening, a revival movement in the United States and was officially founded in 1863. Prominent figures in the early church included Hiram Edson, James Springer White and his wife Ellen G. White, Joseph Bates, and J. N. Andrews.
The Millerites firmly believed that Jesus Christ’s « second advent » (His second coming to earth) would occur on October 22, 1844. When His second coming did not take place, many Millerites were disillusioned and gave up belief in a literal second advent; but others went back to studying the scriptures. Over the next 15 years, former Millerites, meeting in a sequence of « Bible conferences », identified a series of Bible truths forgotten since the days of the early Church. The key beliefs they adopted were among others :
- That Christ’s second coming is imminent and will be literal, not metaphorical, seen by all the world
- That the seventh day, Saturday, not Sunday, is God’s Sabbath and the obligation to keep it is perpetual
- That God does not eternally torment sinners, but rather that the dead « sleep » until the second coming and last judgment
Sabbath observance develops and unites
A young Seventh-Day Baptist layperson named Rachel Oakes Preston living in New Hampshire was responsible for introducing Sabbath to the Millerite Adventists. Due to her influence, Frederick Wheeler, a local Methodist-Adventist preacher, began keeping the seventh day as Sabbath. Several members of the Washington, New Hampshire church he occasionally ministered to also followed his decision. These included William and Cyrus Farnsworth.
In 1860, the movement chose the name, Seventh-day Adventist, representative of the church’s distinguishing beliefs. Three years later, on May 21, 1863, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists was formed and the movement became an official organization with 3,500 members worshipping in 125 churches.
During the formative years of the movement, its leaders were mostly young, in their late teens, 20s and 30s. At the time of the Great Disappointment of 1844, James White was 23; Ellen White and Annie Smith were 16; John N. Andrews was 15, and Minerva Loughborough not quite 15. Uriah Smith and John N. Loughborough (brothers of Annie and Minerva) were only 13, and George I. Butler was just 10.
Yet it was these young men and women, aided by elder statesmen like Joseph Bates (who in 1844 was aged 52), who took the lead in the Bible conferences of the late 1840s and the 1850s, during which the beliefs of what became the Seventh-day Adventist Church were discussed, debated and agreed. It was they who published a series of pamphlets, persuasively setting out the new beliefs, as well as a magazine, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald (today’s Adventist Review), which connected all the widely scattered believers together, and without which the church would never have been founded.
For more information :
See GC website : http://www.adventist.org/information/history/article/go/0/united-for-mission-one-hundred-and-fifty-years/ See link : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Seventh-day_Adventist_Church
Our History as a Union
It should be noted that the Seventh-Day Adventist Church settled unevenly in Central Africa. In Cameroon the Church was introduced in 1926 by the American pioneers W. H. Anderson and T. Mr. French who chose Nanga Eboko as the site of the first station. During this period, was the structuring of the Union of Central Africa, current, marked by a few key dates:
- 1st September 1934 – Official recognition of the African Society of Seventh-Day Adventists by the colonial French Government, Nanga Eboko becoming the headquarters of the Adventist Mission in Cameroon.
- 1949 – Organization of the Adventist Mission of Equatorial Africa with headquarters in Nanga Eboko.
- 1955 – Transfer of the headquarters of the Adventist Mission of Nanga Eboko in Yaounde, a year after the establishment of the missionary station in Yaoundé (1954).
- March 1973 – First Quadrennial Meeting of the Union of Adventist Mission of Central Africa held at Nanga Eboko and reorganization of the field of Cameroon with four Church Conferences (East, North, Central South and West Conferences).
- April 1980 – Reorganization of the West-Central Africa Union within the newly organized Africa Indian Ocean Division. That Union headquartered in Yaounde was made up of 7 countries namely Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe.
The Union will later on experience restructures and territorial realignments that have led to the creation of two Unions in 2013: the Central Africa Union Mission made up of five countries (Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon) headquartered in Bangui (Central African Republic) and the Cameroon Union Mission headquartered in Yaounde.
- Equatorial Union (1927)
- French Equatorial African Union Mission (1933-1941)
- French West And Equatorial African Union Mission (1949-1952)
- French Equatorial African Union Mission (1952-1958)
- Equatorial African Union Mission (1959-1977)
- West-Central African Union Mission (1978-1985)
- Central African Union Mission (1986-2013)
- Cameroon Union Mission (2014- …..)
Momentous events in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Cameroon
Two American pioneers, William Harrison ANDERSON and T.M. French arrived in Douala and chose Nanga Eboko as site of the first Adventist missionary station in Cameroon. Bessala Etong, paramount chief of the Yekabas gave them a 50 hectares piece of land.
The South-African Division sent Pastor R.L. Jones as first Adventist Missionary in Cameroon. He settled at Nanga Eboko and founded a primary school in 1928.
1st January 1929
The missionary field in Cameroon is transferred to the South-European Division. Marius RASPAL, French missionary arrived in Nanga Eboko on the 27th of March 1929 to replace R.L. Jones.
Baptism of the first native converts: Daniel Ndi, Josué Medjo M’Endangte, Antoine Mpfoumi along with their wives. R.L. Jones left.
Ruben Bergström, Sweden missionary sent by the North-European Division arrived in the Far North of Cameroon. He founded the Dogba main station, near Maroua.
-Founding of the Batouri main station by Marius Raspal. -Creation of the first school for Catechists in Nanga Eboko by missionary Pastor Zaré Yeretzian.
14 June 1932
The RASPAL-PATTERSON accord signed in Nanga Eboko to define the boundary between the Adventist Mission and the American Presbyterian Mission.
1st September 1934
Official recognition of the African Society of Seventh-Day Adventists by the colonial French Government. Nanga Eboko became the headquarters of the Adventist Mission in Cameroon.
30th November 1935
Missionary Pastor Marius FRIDLIN arrives in Cameroon and replaces Marius PASCAL. He became Director of the Adventist Mission from 1935 to 1946.
Signing of an accord between layperson Adalbert EKITIKE and Missionary Pastors R. W. BEACH and Marius FRIDLIN for the installation of the Adventist Mission in Grand-Batanga.
15th September 1937
Aimé Consendai arrived in Cameroon and starts a training course for masters in Nanga Eboko. Later he created a radio program “IL EST ECRIT” which gave birth to the radio station, IL EST ECRIT.
Founding of the Metet Station by Daniel Ndi; opening of the Niamvoudou, near Ayos, by Salomon Olinga and Marius FRIDLIN. Founding of Kongo, and Azem 1941.
Founding of the Avebe Missionary station, near Sangmelima by native evangelists Daniel Ndi, Josué Medjo Eyetemou and a missionary Curmatureanu.
Founding of the Mandjap station by Antoine Mpfoumi
Founding of the Koza missionary station by Ruben Bergstrom. Opening of Nanga Eboko Adventist Seminary by Paul BernardOrganisation of the Equatorial African Union Mission of Seventh-Day Adventists with headquarters in Nanga Eboko. Pastor A.J. DE CAENEL is president until 1951.
18th March 1950
Consecration of the first 5 Cameroonians: Daniel Ndi, Antoine Mpfoumi, Adalbert EKITIKE, Joseph Mimbang, Salomon Olinga. Founding of the Nangajango (Kribi) station by Aimé Consendai
Founding of the Koza hospital and a printing press in Yaounde
Creation of the Yaoundé station by Kurt Scheiddegger
Transfer of the headquarters of the Union Mission of Adventists from Nanga Eboko to Yaoundé
Founding of the Ebolowa station by Daniel Ndi
Evangelism at Bafang and inauguration of the church in 1970
1st Quarter Assembly of the Adventist Union Missions in Central Africa at Nanga Eboko; reorganization of the Cameroon field in 4 church Federations, namely:
-East Federation, with headquarters in Bertoua
-North Federation, with headquarters in Maroua
-Centre-South Federation, with headquarters in Yaoundé – West Federation, with headquarters in Douala
53rd session of the World General Conference of the Adventist Church in Dallas, USA; and creation of the Africa-Indian Ocean Division with headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The West Central African Union was reorganized, and detached from the Euro-African Division (whose headquarters is in Berne, Switzerland), then transferred to the new African Division. The Union is made up of the following countries: The Republic of Cameroon, The Central African Republic, the Popular Republic of Congo, The Republic of Gabon, The Republic of Chad, The Republic Equatorial Guinea, and Sao Tomé and Principe. The headquarters is in Yaoundé.
Quarterly Assembly of the Union of Adventist Churches in West-Central Africa, held in Yaoundé.
Adventist University Consendai of Nanga Eboko was authorized to function.
Start of production of Adventist World Radio programs for all of the North, West and Central Africa in the Fulfulde language. The opening of the “Complexe scolaire adventiste d’Odza” in Yaounde.
Satellite broadcasts of Bible Conferences by the independent ministry AMAZING FACTS from the Ahmadou Ahidjo Omnisports stadium in Yaoundé to the world.
November 24, 2003
Authorization by the Cameroon Minister of Communication for the first Adventist FM station of the West-Central Africa Division Radio “Il est ecrit”. Frequency 92.4 MHz was allocated.
December 9, 2005
Official Inauguration of Radio (IT IS WRITTEN) IL EST ECRIT. It broadcasts on 92.4 Mega Hertz in frequency modulation.
Hosting of the 3rd All Africa Religious Liberty Congress in Yaounde organized by the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA)
Organization of the new Cameroon Union Mission headquartered in Yaounde.
1) Eyezo’o (S), Un Paramètre de l’histoire du Cameroun: La Mission Adventiste (1926-1949), Mémoire de Maîtrise en Histoire, Yaoundé 1985.
2) Nkou (J), L’Eglise Adventiste en Afrique Equatoriale, mémoire de Licence en Théologie, Collonges-Sous Salève, 1972.
- Archives de l’Union des Eglises Adventistes au Cameroun Yaoundé.
- Seventh-Day Adventist Encyclopaedia, Vol. 10, Washington, Review and Herald Publishing Association 1976.